Tuesday, February 11, 2014
Strength of schedule: Washington Redskins
By John Keim
The Redskins will be helped by their schedule in 2014. The problem is, their NFC East opponents will be helped even more.
When it comes to strength of schedule next season, the Redskins rank 17th in the NFL, as their opponents had a combined winning percentage of .490 in 2013. Oakland has the NFL’s hardest schedule (.578), thanks to playing six games against playoff teams Denver, Kansas City and San Diego. Indianapolis (.430) has the easiest schedule.
However, everyone else in the NFC East is below them. Dallas is 18th (.488); Philadelphia is 20th (.479) and the New York Giants are 27h (.465). (As a reminder, only two of the 16 games are determined by where a team finishes). Of course, Washington's divisional foes get to play a team that went 3-13 a year ago. But more than strength -- or ease -- of schedule, the Redskins need improved play from quarterback Robert Griffin III and their defense.
The Redskins play five games against teams that made the 2013 postseason: Philadelphia and Seattle (at home); Philadelphia, San Francisco and Indianapolis (away). They also play 10-win Arizona on the road as well.
To become respectable again, the Redskins must do a better job of winning at home. Since they moved to FedEx Field in 1997, the Redskins have only won more than five games at home twice -- winning six in 1999 and 2005 (both playoff years). Otherwise, their record in their current home is 66-69-1. They’ve finished above .500 at home six times at FedEx and have made the playoffs in four of those seasons (failing to do so in 1997 and 2002).
So it helps that based on 2013 records, the Redskins have the easiest home schedule in the NFC East, as their eight opponents have a combined .461 winning percentage. Dallas has the division’s toughest home schedule at .516.
Meanwhile, Washington’s road opponents have a .512 winning percentage -- the NFL’s 14th-hardest schedule but toughest in the NFC East.